April 7 & 10 Update

Achillea ‘Moondust’

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and excited. Excited that spring seems to have finally sprung. I started mowing the yard(s) a few days ago and hopefully, I can till the garden this week. I see the rain is now out of the forecast. Saturday night weather radar showed a thunderstorm heading our way but somehow it never came. Then all the rain forecasted for the week was kind of removed. I was talking to a friend from Mississippi and she said they have had A LOT of rain and more to come. You just never know. It seems some times of the year the weather is hard to predict.

The plants inside want out BAD but I told them later this week lows in the 30’s are predicted. Most of them smiled like they were saying they wouldn’t mind. Others had a different opinion which was kind of like mine. They decided to take a vote and strangely enough, it was unanimous they go outside now. I had to veto… Hmmm… Is it possible to veto a vote? Is that legal? They said the grass is green and growing and so are the plants outside already. I told them they may be coming up but only some were growing good. The overnight lows are still cool so most of the perennials are just sitting there waiting for warmer temperatures. I told the cactus that sometimes cooler temperatures can scar them. Well, they didn’t especially like that idea so they agreed to stay inside, for now, would be OK.

The above photo is the Achillea ‘Moondust’ I bought last spring. It hadn’t appeared yet when I took photos on March 30. I thought it may have not made it through the winter so I was glad to see it.

 

Achillea millefolium by the barn…

All the Achillea millefolium in the beds are up and running as is the one I put in front of the barn last summer. I am sure the “wild” Achillea millefolium are up as well but I haven’t checked.

 

Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’…

All the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ are going nuts now. I see they are starting to bud, too.

 

The unknown Astilbe cultivar…

The Astilbe have come up this past week. I never did figure out the cultivar name of the one brought home from Lowe’s in 2013. I had checked several pots to find the one I wanted, but when I came home I saw it had a wrong label in the pot. It was for a completely different plant…

 

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’…

The Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ I brought home last spring has also come up this past week. NICE! Grammarly thinks it should be called final…

 

Wanna be Baptisia ‘Lunar Eclipse’…

The Baptisia labeled ‘Lunar Eclipse’ I brought home from the garden center in Clinton in 2017 is growing well. There were two sizes available and the plants in the larger pots were blooming but very expensive The smaller pots were still not cheap but agreeable. However, they weren’t flowering and they didn’t until last year. The flowers were all blue instead of the color of ‘Lunar Eclipse’. While it is true their flowers do turn blue, they start out yellow. It is possible I missed the yellow phase but I highly doubt it. When I make a trip to the garden center within a few weeks I will take a photo of the flowers and show the owner. I know it isn’t her fault but she may be interested to know. I am somewhat acquainted with the breeder, too.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)…

The Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) hasn’t started doing anything weird yet. I had to pull out some chickweed in the planter and she was nice this time. Normally she bites! This plant reminds me of the Delaware hens when I gather eggs. I do not put my hands under the Delaware hens when they are on the nest and I do my best not to touch this cactus. Both are very grabby.

 

Echinacea purpurea cv. ‘?’…

The Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), whatever cultivar they may be, are doing quite well. I have a notion to dig some of the wild species up and plant them on the farm. I know where I can privately dig three species. 🙂

 

Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’…

The Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ is all aglow and already brightening up its southeast area of the shade bed. It seems a lit stunted so I will need to check the soil under its roots. Darn moles!

 

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’…

I am glad to see the Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ getting off to a good start. Last year as it was starting to look good, the deer sampled its leaves. It didn’t do well all summer after that. So far, no deer have nibbled anything this spring yet.

 

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’…

The Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ is doing amazingly well. I am glad it’s happy.

 

Heuchera ‘Venus’…

The Heuchera ‘Venus’ is doing AWESOMELY well but she is complaining about bulbs growing in her space. I found a lot of small bulbs growing in this area when I dug this bed in 2017. I removed as many as I could see then replanted them later. Some of the bulbs were so small I guess I missed them. I attempted to identify the bulbs once they flowered again but I still haven’t decided what they are.

 

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’…

The Hosta, for the most part, are slowly coming to life. They have come up but they haven’t made up their mind to get up and go. Kind of like I am when I need to get out of bed in the morning. I guess it is because low’s have still been fairly cool so the soil has remained cool for the most part.

The Hosta ‘Abique Drinking Gourd’ came up and now is thinking about it. She is wondering if it is safe to unfurl or if there is still an “F” around the corner.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Angel’…

Hmmm… I don’t know what to think about the supposed-to-be Hosta ‘Blue Angel’. It is going to be weird! It is supposed to be a fairly large Hosta but it remained so small last summer. Here it is, leaves unfurling, while all the other Hosta’s leaves are still tucked up. I am not a Hosta expert and probably need to brush up on Hosta terminology. With larger Hosta, the clump spreads over time and the “new plants” are spread out somewhat. With this plant, as with the H. ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, the cluster is fairly compact with lots of shoots in a small area. That is one reason I believe this plant is not a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ at all.

 

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’…

As you can see with this miniature Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, the cluster is tight and tidy. Ummm… You know what I mean. 🙂

 

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’…

The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ pretty much looks like it did a week ago.

 

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’…

The Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ has taken off like it is being paid. I think she really wants to dazzle us this summer and show us what she’s made of. Supposed to be the world’s largest Hosta but I would say there are a few grow equally as large or close such as Hosta ‘Gentle Giant’, ‘Big John’, ‘Sagae’, and so on. It really depends on which website you look at. This will be this Hosta ‘Empress Wu’s’ third summer here so she still a couple of years to reach maturity.

*Several days have passed since the above photo was taken on April 7. It is easy to notice how much it grows because it is next to the side entrance of the house. It seems like it grows a couple of inches every day.

 

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’…

Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is doing better. It felt rejected because I thought it had fallen into a collapsed mole tunnel. It wondered why I didn’t dig into the soil and look for it if I was concerned. Hmmm… Now, what do you say about something like that? I told it I wasn’t really sure what happened at the time and then later I did realize I was looking in the wrong spot. I also reminded it that I DID scrape off the top inch or so of the soil when I found it was OK. Three of the Hosta somehow got covered with more soil and this was one of them.

 

Hosta ‘Guacamole’…

I put the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ #1 and 2 back together again as I was taking photos. Now, that’s better… I like keeping the Hosta cultivars together even if I divide. I moved one part of it last spring to fill the vacancy left behind by Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’. Now I need to find another variegated Hosta for that spot.

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’…

One of the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ clumps took off a little faster than the other two and it has spread a little. NICE!

 

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’…

The Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the previous photo is on the right side of the above photo. There is another group in the top center, and the other is where my finger is pointing. At least I can get them all in the same photo.

 

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’…

The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has REALLY done well and its clump has grown to a massive size! Even the moles seem to be scared of it!

 

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’…

This Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ I put here last spring will someday be very impressive. One of the most popular of the larger Hosta, it will grow to above 2′ tall x about 4-5′ wide within a few years.

 

Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’…

I have no clue what is going on with the Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’. It almost appears its roots have been pushed up from freezing and thawing. I need to have a closer look and perhaps bury is a little deeper. Maybe put some soil on top of it… Maybe a mole pushed it up.

 

Hosta ‘Whirlwind’…

I had to uncover the Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ because it is one that somehow had o much soil on top of it. I think they all need somewhat elevated in this particular bed.

 

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’…

The Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is looking awesomely well. It has not spread hardly at all but it will grow into a nice mound around 30″ in diameter.

 

Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’…

The Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ is looking good! I trimmed the old stems and leaves so it could get more sun and look much better. I am hoping for flowers!

 

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’…

Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is back again for another round. There is a Red Clover that is invading its space… Hard to remove the Red Clover because it has a tough root system and it is growing right in the Salvia!

 

Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’…

I am really glad to see the Salvia pratensis ‘Midnight Model’ this spring. I really liked its unique flowers.

 

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’/’May Night’…

The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ or ‘May Night’ is really looking good. It took somewhat of a vacation from flowering last summer so hopefully it will get with the program this year. It is getting off to a very good start!

 

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’…

All of the Sedum are looking better every day. I am especially keeping an eye on the Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’. I am curious why this variegated variety is referred to as a cultivar instead of a variety. Even the way I phrased that makes no sense. Is it a natural mutation or manmade? The International Crassulaceae Network lists a Phedimus kamtschaticus variegatus, which in a roundabout way, is this plant.

 

Sedum kamtschaticum

The Sedum kamtschaticum is looking very good as it always does. Maybe this will be the year I can tell if it is Sedum kamtschaticum or the subspecies Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombianum. The latter is pretty likely because it a good sized growing plant with fairly large leaves. Of course, there is no “official” subspecies by that name now on POWO and it isn’t even listed as a synonym. Of course, this may be the year the botanists, horticulturalists, etc. decide to break up the Sedum genus AGAIN. In that case, it would probably be Phedimus kamtschaticus or Phedimus kamtschaticus subsp. ellacombianum. Whoops! Maybe Phedimus aizoon. Hmmm… Maybe… I think I better stop because there are a lot of “if’s” involved and a lot of decisions to be made by the folks who are trying to sort through all the thousands of multiple species. They are doing their best.

There are several genera of plants with hundreds of species representing annuals, perennials, trees shrubs, and succulents (i.e. 1,986 species of Euphorbia). Currently, there are 545 accepted species of Sedum which are mainly succulent plants. While most share something in common, or they wouldn’t be in the genus, there are many species that separate them from the rest. Over the years, many groups of Sedum have been moved to other genera only to have them put back again (Phedimus, Hylotelephium, Rhodiola, Orostachys and so on).

 

Sedum spurium cv. ?…

The Sedum spurium ‘?’ is looking good despite its border wall has collapsed. I need to fix that right away.

 

Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’…

The Sedum spurium John Creech’ is off to a rambunctious start. I think it is going to just pick up where it left off and continue invading in neighbors territory.

 

Sempervivum ‘Killer’…

The Sempervivum ‘Killer’ hasn’t changed much since the last time I took photos…

 

Stachys byzantina

The Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) are looking great! They really seem to like this spot in the southeast corner bed.

 

Stellaria media (Chickweed)…

It may sound funny, but this is the first year in my life I have noticed the Chickweed (Stellaria media) flowering so much. Normally, I barely even get a glimpse early in the morning and just a few buds or spent flowers. This year they are flowering up a storm everywhere. Ummm… There is A LOT!

So many of us look at Chickweed as a real pain in the neck. The flower beds are LOADED this time of the year. Chickweed is both edible and nutritious and can be included in salads. Chickweed is also used as a herbal remedy.

Chickweed belongs to the Caryophyllaceae Family along with 93 other genera including Dianthus and Gypsophila. The genus Stellaria contains 181 species.

 

Xanthosoma robustum rhizome…

The Xanthosoma robustum, which I have been calling Xanthosoma sagittifolium, has a problem. The rhizome has been fine all winter and then I noticed the old one and one offset has rotted.

 

Xanthosoma robustum rhizome…

Thank goodness there is still one good offset.

 

AS USUAL…

It has taken a few days to finish this post. I finally finished mowing the first round of grass on Monday. Just in time to start over again. 🙂 Tis the season… I took a few more photos on Wednesday (the 10th).

Anyway, it is nothing uncommon in the spring for…

 

Of course, this is a tulip. When I moved to the farm after grandpa passed away in April 1981, there was an old tulip bed in front of the house. One spring after they flowered I decided to move the tulips next to the garden fence so they wouldn’t be in the middle of the front yard. Although I managed to get most of them, there were MANY that I couldn’t find… The stem kept going and going but there were no bulbs. Evening though I was very determined and I had dug down quite a ways, there were several bulbs I could not find because they had gone so deep. That was in the early 1980’s and still, after around 35 years they are STILL coming up in the middle of the front yard.

 

Then on Monday, I saw this one in a completely different location. It has come up about 20 feet from where I planted them along the fence and a good 30 feet from where the bed in the front yard was. Ironically, none of the bulbs I planted long ago along the fence have come up since I have been back here. This is weird… Where did this tulip come from. Makes me wonder how deep its bulb is… Yeah, I am going to see if I can find it.

 

I am not 100% sure, but I think I possibly planted this one from grandmas old bed.

 

While I was mowing I also noticed the old maple tree is LOADED with flowers. I thought this tree was about dead a few years ago, but it keeps on going. This spring it has completely come to life like nobodies business!

 

A few years ago, when I thought it was going to die, it started oozing more sap from way up in the trunk. It started losing leaves and I thought it was a goner for sure. It was late blooming and leafing out the next spring.

 

This photo doesn’t show it well, but most of the trunk is completely black from the sap.

OH, LOOK AT THOSE ORBS! I always take two photos of everything in case one is messed up. Hmmm… The orbs are in both photos in exactly the same spot. Some claim the orbs are from dust, but it was very windy today when I was taking photos. Wouldn’t you think the “dust orbs” would have moved or even been absent in the second photo since it was so windy? 🙂

 

I was waiting for the wind to die down enough to get a few shots of the flowers… The flowers of this maple are a lot different than the others.

 

I have tried on numerous occasions to start new trees from the seed. Even from the one with purple leaves. The trees get a few inches tall then die…

 

The Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) are as common around here as grass. I think they are pretty neat and I try and mow around them in the yard. Even the ones I mow off are flowering again in a few days. If I dig their bulb up in the flower beds, I just stick them back in the dirt.

 

Another common sight in my yard, and maybe yours, too… Some of the clumps are smaller than others and some have an oniony smell and others don’t. I have experimented a little and mowed around them to see what happens. There is a HUGE group down by the lagoon like the one in the above photo and these do smell like onions. They are one of nearly 1,000 Allium species (POWO currently says 977, which is almost 1,000). I have not ventured to try and find out the species name.

 

These little Daffodils in front of the chicken house are really neat. I think mom and dad ordered these from Publisher’s Clearing House and I planted them here.

 

A couple of them have white tepals with yellow coronas…

 

The rest have very pale creamy yellow coronas

 

There is plenty of Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) growing here and there…

 

As well as its cousin the Dead Nettle (Lamium purpurea).

 

The Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) is starting to flower. There are plenty of them, too.

 

I always like their flowers!

I can start moving plants to the front and back porch next week. If we get another cold front I will have to move them back inside.

That’s it for this post. Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Now it is time to GET DIRTY!

10 comments on “April 7 & 10 Update

  1. debbie lansdown says:

    Thank you for a lovely tour of your yard! Never get tired of looking at spring activities! I am growing Achillea ‘Moon Dust’ for the first time – I got it last year but it didn’t flower as the Phlox around it grew like crazy and took all the light – so now it’s in the right spot we shall see. I’m taken with your Heuchera ‘Venus’, I may look for one.
    A couple of mentions for moles…Do you ever see the moles? Or just the damage they do? I haven’t ever seen a mole

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Debbie! Spring is definitely an active time of year for the yard and flower beds. There are many neat looking Heuchera and I have several on my wish list. The only time I have seen a mole is after the cats happen to kill one. I am not sure I have ever seen a live one in my entire life. My grandpa used to flush them out with a water hose but I don’t have the time for that. They can do plenty of damage for sure. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Littlesundog says:

    You gave me a better perspective of chickweed. I generally dig it up in my flower beds and feed it to the chickens (who love it!). Of course there is plenty of chickweed in the yard and all around the buildings that just reseeds and comes back each year. I figure there is a reason for all plants – even the ones (like stick tights of various species) we don’t appreciate. This year henbit flourished in our pasture just south of the house and made a carpet of lavender for city folks down the street to admire. I love it for that reason. With the flowering fruit trees and shrubs, and that carpet of lavender, this place is a showcase in the spring. Forrest’s grandmother planted most of the floral shrubs and berries, and I added the fruit trees, mostly for the wildlife to gain nutrition from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Laura! I usually pull the Chickweed up in the flower beds and put it on the brush pile. The Henbit, Deadnettle and other early bloomers are great for bees and pollinators when they first wake up in the spring. We have fields around here that are aglow with Henbit. Very pretty. There are many flowering trees throughout the town that are flowering which is always a welcome sight in the spring. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Welcome Spring! Lovely post! I have all of my flower beds cleaned out and right now I am taking a break. I am working on my 50 foot arbor that is covered in pink and purple wisteria. Going to take most of the day! Then I am done other than keeping up with the weeds.

    Liked by 1 person

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